Reel Watchers: The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone misses the '80s. Back then action films were simple. The villain's motivation was communism, the hero was cool if he had a motorcycle, and a team of Americans overthrowing a small nation didn't have uncomfortable undertones. Now audiences expect innovative action scenes, well-written dialogue, and a lead who doesn't look like his face is melting. None of these are things Sylvester Stallone is good at.

Part of Stallone's problem is he doesn't know to share the blame.

He's not only the director and co-writer along with David Callaham (previously known for his work on Doom and, uh ... Doom), but Stallone's also without a doubt the star of this film. Yes, despite what the posters, advertisements, and hype would have you believe, this isn't an ensemble movie.

Sure, there are tons of other actors in the film, but they don't get nearly as much screen time as Stallone. Which is a shame, because A-listers such as Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Mickey Rourke deserve better than to be Stallone's back-up dancers.

Not even standard action fare such as blood and gore are given the attention they deserve. Every gunshot wound looks like someone popping a balloon filled with gravy.

The really sad part is this could have been a great movie. A true ensemble film about aging action heroes, the film everyone thought The Expendables was when they first heard about it, would have been delightfully original. But Stallone still wants to be the action star he was a quarter of a century ago, and he refuses to leave that mindset. Not only have action movies changed in that time, but so has Stallone, and all the HGH in the world isn't going to change that. The Expendables wastes both time and talent, so it gets just one Miner out of four.